A open letter from Norwich City CSF on rebate alternative

Norwich Citry defender Christoph Zimmermann delivering activity packs for the Community Sports Found

Norwich Citry defender Christoph Zimmermann delivering activity packs for the Community Sports Foundation Picture: NCFC - Credit: NCFC

The head of Norwich City’s Community Sports Foundation (CSF) has written an open letter to supporters following the club’s decision to issue rebates to season ticket holders and members.

The coronavirus pandemic has put an end to the season as far as watching games is concerned, and as well as offering a rebate for lost games, City say fans can opt to donate their rebate to the CSF or to the club’s Academy.

Ian Thornton, the CSF’s chief executive, says the charity expects to lose around £500,000.

His letter reads:

Dear Canaries supporters,

We hope that you and your families are staying happy and healthy during this exceptional period.

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Several weeks ago, as the virus began to affect everyone’s lives so dramatically, our Canaries COVID-19 project was launched and received a boost via donations from players and senior figures at the club so that we could begin to deliver thousands of food parcels and essential items into the community, and Personal Protective Equipment to carers and NHS workers.

Our team has stepped up and shown leadership, providing terrific support for our community in collaboration with so many brilliant local authorities and charities at a time of great need, but now this opportunity has arisen for us to ask for your support.

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First, let me acknowledge the reality that we are asking a lot of you to donate this amount of money at a time that carries so much uncertainty for us all. We’re really only asking you to tick that box if you won’t miss it.

Like most organisations we have spent the last few weeks completely redrawing our budgets to find a way to ensure the sustainability of the Foundation; the expectancy is that we are to miss out on about half a million pounds of income as it stands from a raft of cancelled fundraising events and other income sources. We also have the added complexity of ensuring the completion of our community hub The Nest in Horsford, construction of which is already under way. When completed, The Nest will be a powerful tool for us to enhance skills and tackle some of the longer-term impact of the COVID-19 crisis.

We have looked at how we cut our costs and try and find other ways to bring in income so that the vulnerable people we work with can still receive that support from us. This opportunity, kindly presented to us by the club’s executive team and directors, is one way we may be able to make a small dent in that figure. The club is of course facing its own challenges at the moment and so we are hugely grateful for this opportunity.

During this time our team have been working incredibly hard to provide remote engagement for the community groups with which they work, such as people with disabilities, older members of the community, and parents and teachers who have a really tough job keeping youngsters learning and active while at home.

Many members of the team have also been volunteering to deliver the food parcels and other essential items as part of the Canaries COVID-19 community project. You may view a bit more detail and many of the responses to their work here.

When the restrictions on our everyday life begin to ease, we believe the community will need the Foundation’s support to recover from this crisis with new projects on top of the vital work we already provide – that is why the survival of the charity is so important and why we are asking for your help to reduce the financial impact we, like so many others, are feeling.

As I mentioned, please don’t feel like you have to. We expect only a small minority to be in a position to help us at this time, but if you think that you are one of those fortunate enough to be in that position, please consider us for your support.

We would all be extremely grateful, just as we are to those that have already supported us by waiving refunds from some of our programmes and through undertaking new fundraising activities such as the 2.6 Challenge.

We are looking at ways of celebrating your support at some point in the future when the time is right.

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